DC’s Streatery Winter Ready Grant Program Offers to Keep Diners Warm and Restaurants Solvent This Fall
As the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States exceeds 200,000, and as the novel coronavirus pandemic spills over into cold and flu season, it will be a long time before most diners in the DC area feel comfortable lingering over luxurious meals and friendly conversation in restaurants. Even as restrictions have lifted for dine-in service at restaurants, the patio or outdoor seating area is where diners feel the safest. It is an uncontroversial statement that some times of the year in Washington DC are better suited to outdoor dining than others. It is also uncontroversial that the dine-in setting is a big part of the appeal of many restaurants. Offering take-out and delivery is not the best long-term solution for restaurant owners that have invested substantial money and work into creating an appealing ambience for dine-in guests. A new grant program by the Office of Nightlife and Culture offers money to restaurants and similar small businesses to help them get ready to welcome customers in a safe manner this fall and winter. A Washington DC small business lawyer can also help you develop your business strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic fall.
Winter Ready Grant Program Currently Accepting Applications
The Washington DC Office of Nightlife and Culture has begun accepting applications for the Streatery Winter Ready Program and will begin disbursing funds to applicants on October 1. Eligible businesses can receive a grant of up to $6,000 to prepare outdoor dining areas and outdoor retail spaces for a winter in which customers must maintain social distance in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recipients can use the money on the following expenses to prepare their outdoor spaces for winter:
- Space heaters
- Propane for heating
- Outdoor lighting and light fixtures
- Patio furniture
- Marketing and promotions
The purpose of the grant program is to help businesses conduct their business activities through in-person visits from customers. Many small businesses are committed to long-term leases and must pay for a space that serves the purposes of the pre-pandemic world. While some businesses can easily pivot to pandemic-friendly activities, it is easier to go from producing boutique athleisure clothes to producing masks than it is to pivot from offering a multi-course molecular gastronomy production to producing masks, for example.
Businesses in non-food retail sectors are eligible to apply for the grants, as well as restaurants and retail food stores. As a requirement for eligibility, though, applicants must already be current holders of a permit for outdoor business space. This includes everything from restaurants that have always had a front or back patio to temporary “streatery” sidewalk dining permits issued earlier in the pandemic. Applications are available in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Amharic.
Contact Us Today for Help
A grant to winterize your outdoor retail space is a great start, and a Washington DC small business lawyer can help you further elaborate your plans for your small business for this winter and beyond. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help today.